Friday, January 24, 2014

México: Mexico City Authorities Endeavor to Make Water Safe to Drink

According to The Associated Press, a law recently passed in the Mexican capital will require all restaurants to install filters so they can offer patrons free, drinkable water that won't lead to stomach problems and other ailments.
Bad tap water accounts in part for México being the world's top consumer of bottled water and worse, bottled soda which accounts for roughly 43 gallons per person per year. 
With an obesity epidemic nationwide, the city's health department decided to back the water initiative.
COMMENT: Mexico City officials say 65,000 restaurants will have six months to install filters once the bill is signed later this month. Health inspectors will make periodic visits and impose $125 to $630 fines to those not complying. The law, unfortunately, does not cover thousands of food stalls along Mexico City's streets.
Mexico City's health secretary said 95% of the capital's drinking water is clean, based on daily checks of chlorination at various treatment plants. Yet, experts say that while Mexico City water leaves the plant in drinkable form, it travels through underground pipes and dirty rooftop water tanks to the consumer.

Mexicans consume 69 gallons (260 liters) of bottled water per capita each year, mostly from five-gallon (20-liter) jugs delivered by trucks to restaurants and homes. The number in the US is 31 gallons (116 liters), according to José Martínez-Robles, of the New York City-based consultant Beverage Marketing Corp.
The large jugs can cost more than $2 in a country where the minimum daily wage is $5. One-liter water bottles range from 50 cents to a dollar.
Martinez-Robles estimates that the bottled-water market in México reached $5 billion in 2012, suggesting it will be hard to get Mexicans to change their habits and trust what comes out of their taps, even if it is filtered.
Understandably, statistical data will no doubt reveal just how successful the filtering legislation is, as the majority of Mexicans don't eat in restaurants, they eat at home, where most tap water is not filtered.